This one goes out to all the ladies (cuz let’s be honest, those folks who identify as such tend to be the ones who perform this particular type of labor). December can be a brutal month for emotional labor. I recently read an article in The Atlantic where the person who is credited with coining this term, Arlie Hochschild, was protesting its current use and meaning, but I’m of the camp who acknowledges that words evolve. Today, emotional labor often refers to the mostly unpaid, unrecognized work of supporting the comfort and happiness of our families and communities. Hochschild may not like where the term has gone, but it does capture concisely something that had no prior shorthand. For that, I am grateful. Let’s start noticing this work (and distributing it).
Published by Emily P.G. Erickson
Emily P.G. Erickson is a writer with a master's degree in psychology. Her service journalism and personal essays about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood have appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Romper, Elemental, and elsewhere. You can find the latest from Emily at www.emilypgerickson.com. View more posts